The Sorrow of a Christ-less Eternity:
Leonard Ravenhill: “While millions were watching with thumping hearts, American scientists hurled a man into space in May of this year . The same day thousands of souls were launched into a Christless eternity and are in orbit forever in the regions of the damned. Few hearts thumped over their eternal misery; no banner headlines of the press screamed of the eternal woe of those who can never again pass this way.” (Ravenhill, Revival Praying, 15)
It is grievous how often my mind is consumed with the vanity of this temporal world while thousands enter into a Christless eternity each and every day. The horrors of hell and the fact that I deserve such torment, alone, should be enough to drive me to my knees in earnest prayer that God should save sinners. It should compel me to speak His truth with courage, conviction, and love. My momentary inconvenience or mild discomfort does not even compare to someone spending eternity without Christ. The lost have no greater need than to hear the gospel and see a life that displays its redemptive love and transforming power. Eternity is the only true reality, and seeing a Christless person ought to provoke me to compassion, prayer, and witness rather than complacency. Only God can give me a greater burden for the lost, and so I ask Him to graciously do so. He desires for all of His children to have compassion on those who are still children of wrath. Apart from Christ, that is what we would continue to be. And without Him we would experience a Christless eternity.
The Need for Earnest Prayer:
Samuel Chadwick: “Brethren, the crying sin of the Church is her laziness after God.” Ravenhill further writes, “Praying people, however, are not lazy. Prayer demands will power. Prayer recognizes unfinished business with and for God. Prayer is a battle for full-grown men, fully armed and fully awake to the possibilities of grace. I write here by constraint, for my spirit is sore, my heart sick at the slothfulness with which we tarry in prayer. My head hangs low that Communists will give more for their dying cause than we will give for the living Christ… I write not for those who want a “bottle” (“I have fed you with milk”) but for those who want to battle. My heart is at rest–but I am restless for revival. I have peace–but yet am at war against principalities and powers and against everything in the Church that clutters up the blocked channel through which revival could come…” (Ravenhill, 1961).
The Holy Spirit alone can bring revival. He always begins such a work by reviving our hearts, and His means of doing so is by the living word of God. May He compel us to become a praying people who persevere in earnest prayer, both for our own souls and for the lost. May the burden of the Lord become our burning passion as we turn from sin and turn to God.